2017 Toyota Prius Prime test drive, Ojai, California, Sep 2016
With rising interest rates and falling federal plug-in vehicle tax credits on some models, the best deals on electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and conventional hybrids are a little harder to find versus a few months ago.
Our partners at CarsDirect.com still found some leases on plug in cars as low as $199 a month in May, and we've rounded up the best of them below.
2019 Honda Clarity Electric
For those who want to lease, at least in California and Oregon, the best deal is available on the Honda Clarity Electric, which is only sold in those states.
Honda is offering a $199-a-month lease on the Clarity electric for 36 months with $1,799 due at signing.
The Clarity Electric carries an 89-mile EPA range rating, one of the shortest among new electric cars on sale today, which could explain the big discounts. It looks like Honda will be discounting the Clarity Electric for quite a while: This deal doesn't end until Jan. 20, 2020.
2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV
For those who want to buy instead of lease, the best deal is on the Chevy Bolt EV. Unlike last month's simple 15-percent-off deal, the 2019 Bolt EV is eligible for a wide array of different discounts in May, starting with a $3,000 rebated and $2,500 cash bonus available nationwide. GM is offering dealers another $2,000 in "flex cash" that can also bring prices down. In the 16 states that follow California's zero-emissions vehicle mandate, GM is offering an additional $1,000 off.
Altogether, that adds up to a potential $8,500 discount, which is bigger than any CarsDirect has previously encountered on the Bolt.
The bad news is, GM no longer offers any special financing rates on the Bolt, though competitive dealers may have access to some low-interest loans.
2018 Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid
A new and compelling plug-in hybrid made our list of best deals this month, the Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid. It has the most affordable lease rate of any plug-in hybrid for May.
Kia is offering lease payments of $249 a month for 36 months with $2,999 due at signing. That gives the Niro Plug-In Hybrid an effective lease cost of $332 a month. The deal doesn't skimp on miles, with 12,000 miles a year.
The Niro PHEV is rated at 26 miles of electric range and 46 mpg when running on gas.
The offer is only available in certain states (not necessarily those that follow the California ZEV mandate). Discounts vary by trim, with more expensive models receiving higher discounts.
2017 Toyota Prius Prime Premium
The Toyota Prius Prime also gets great lease deals this month, with payments as low as $309 a month for 36 months, with $1,999 due at signing. That's the same as the regular Prius, but the Prime has 25 miles of all-electric range and is eligible for state and federal rebate programs, making it cheaper to own than a standard Prius.
The lease discount is available in urban areas of California; Portland, Oregon; and Boston, among other areas.
Buyers can also get a big $2,500 discount, more than double what's available on the standard Prius, and five times what Toyota offered last month on the Prime.
Prius Prime sales have dropped significantly as sales of the Tesla Model 3 have ramped up.
The deals apply to 2019 models, but potential buyers should consider that the 2020 model due out at the end of the summer will be more functional, with a fifth seat in the rear as well as Apple CarPlay compatibility.
2019 Ford Fusion Hybrid
For those who have long commutes or no access to a plug the Ford Fusion Hybrid returns as the best deal on standard hybrids.
The big, comfortable Fusion Hybrid is EPA-rated at 42 mpg combined, and is available to lease for $209 a month for 36 months with $3,050 down.
The Fusion Hybrid is actually $40-a-month cheaper to lease than the standard Fusion, even though it stickers for $2,800 more. And its effective cost of $294 a month is $71 a month less than leasing a basic 2019 Toyota Prius L.
One caveat is that to get the best deal, lessees have to choose a car that has been in dealer inventory at least 61 days. Otherwise the deal is $250 more expensive.